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Posted on August 30, 2022 at 2:50 PM


November 19,1867 Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Ar.) - State News- The Dewitt elector of the 2nd lient: says We are informed that a company has been formed for the purpose of clearing out Bayou Meto, So that flat boats and small streamers will be able to navigate the strem during the winter months. As the Bayou Meto currently abounds with fine grade lumber, boop poles, the very best of land and most excellent stock range, both winter and summer, we know it will add much to the improvement and increase of population in that quarter.

August 17, 1869 Morning Repulican (Little Rock Ar)

The Bayou Meto- Robbery. It will be remembered that we gave publicity to a robbery that was committed near Bayou Meto Bridge August 1, and that we doubted the truth of the circumstances, own to the misrepresentations of the man claimed to be robbed. We received yesterday a letter from a gentleman, Mr. E.M. Walters, who seems to think we were mistaken in our conclusions. We give his statement in justice to himself, He says: "I was robbed about eight or nine miles from Little Rock, on the road to Austin, of $298 in gold, $50 in silver and $792.25 in greenbacks. The money I carried from this county, which is well known by good citizens. I deposited my pocket book in the Anthony House safe, Where I stopped during my stay in the city. I never said I drew it out of the bank.

November 09, 1869 - Morning Republican (Little Rock Ar.)

Chamber of Commerce- This board met in their rooms yesterday evening, President D.E. Jones in the chair. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Mr. Field, chairman of the bridge committee, submitted a statement concerning the Bayou Meto Bridge, and also submitted communication from the county commissioner, M.D. McCabe, relative to the proposition of purchasing said bridge, as follows: Little Rock, Nov 8th, 1869

W.H. Field, Esq. Chairman, Bridge committee: In relation to the Bayou Meto Bridge, I have to report that I have spoken to Mr. Chapel, and he is now in consultation with his lawyer in relation to the sale of said Bridge to the county of Pulaski, and soon as they come to a decision, I will inform you to the same, which I hope will be in a few days. In relation to the bridge on the up-river road, I can state that the bayou next to the city will be built in a short time. Also, the one on the Maumelle. I have spoken to the county Judge in regard to the matter, and he is favorable to their construction. Respectfully, Etc. M.D. McCabe.


November 03, 1870 published in the Arkansas Daily Gazette

Bayou Meto- We learned from the DeWitt (Arkansas County) Sential "that active measures are being taken to clear out and remove the obstructions" in the Bayou Meto and make it a navigaable stream. We have long since expressed the opinion that this natural canal would in time comt to be an important artery of commerce. It has its rine in the northern portion of pulaski county, and flows southeasterly to the Prairie county line, which it strikes about midway through that county near the southeastern corner, where it enters Arkansas County, and flows through it ot its mouth, where it empties into the Arkansas river. Its length is in the neighborhood of one hundred and fifty miles, and for probably tow-thirds of that distance it is acceptiblie of being converted to navigatable ones, with or without the use of lock and dams. The Sentinel truthfully of the country through which it passes: It flows through a region of underpassed fertility of the soil, which must sooner or later, under the hand of industry, be made to yield its tresures of untold and now undeveloped wealth in the productions of the soil, and in the timber, lumber, etc., which will be cut from its inexitandible forests. Cypress, oak,gum, and other vauable timbers abound in its borders, only awaiting the introduction of mills, manufactories.

April 15, 1871 Morning Republican page 4 (Little Rock Ar).

The Road Districts of Pulaski County. The County court, judge David Reeve presiding, at its session on Thursday, divided Pulaski County into thirty-six road district, and made the appointments for each required by the road law.

Gray township - William McCraw, overseer, Bryant Welch, justice

Bayou Meto Township G.W. Greene overseer, F.D. Aldrich, justice.


1872 the train Depot for Jacksonville Ar, built in 1871


07-26-1873 – Little Rock Republican (Little Rock Arkansas page 4)

A colored man named Jack Ferguson was run over and killed by the train on the Memphis and Little Rock railroad, on Thursday last, about a mile and a half this side of Bayou Meto, We have no particulars of the accident.


06-30-1876-----Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Arkansas) page 2

We are authorized to announce Dr. M.J. McHenry of Jacksonville, as a candidate for the representative of Pulaski County in the General Assembly, subject to the actions of the democratic nomination.

We are authorized to announce P.G. Mason for Bayou Meto township, as a canidate for Assesor of Pulaski County to the decision of the democratic nominating convention.

07-26-1875 – Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Arkansas ) page 1

A brave boy who is worthy of the name he bears: Last Saturday while a goodly number of our citizens were at the Bayou Meto, near the railroad, several went in awimming, Little Willie Goodrum got into deep water and was near drowing when he was rescued by his brother Cleburne Goodrum, During the same afternoon Sanders Whiting, a little boy of nine years fell off a foot-log into deep water, when the same young gentleman being near, made a grasp for him, fell in himself, and then caught Sanders and carried him out. Saving the lives of two boys a day is pretty good work; Cleb: - (*Lonoke Democrat).


August 16, 1876 Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Ar.)

The State Senatorship- The Democratic meetings in the various townships

Bayou Meto Township- In pursuance of a call of the democrate central committee for a meeting of the democratic and conservative party of Bayou Meto Township, they met at Zion Hill Church, and the following proceedings were had: R.W. Dorsy was called to the chair and D.D. Haslep was requested to act as secretary. It was moved and seconded that Hon. Sam W. Williams be declared the unanimous choice to ill the expired term of Hon. J.M. Lough-borough, of the tenth senatorial district.

The following gentlemen were apointed delegates: R.H. Little, N. L. Wood and N. Midgett. Moved and seconded that if but one delegate attends said convention, he be instructed to cast the vote of this convention as a unit for Sam W. Williams. (GRAY TOWNSHIP) Delgates- Austin Walker and H.H. Kerr. Instructions to vote for Hon. S.W. Williams.

July 25, 1876 Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Ar.)

The Township meetings- Additional Returns from the Democratic Primaries- BAYOU METO - The democtats of this township met at Zion Hill Church last Saturday. Joel R. Joiner was selected chairman, and Jas. D. Wood secretary. Joel R. Joiner, J.L. Herod and D.D. Heslip were elected as delegates, and J.J. Sumner, N.L. Wood and R.H. Little were appointed as alternates, to attend the convention to meet at Little Rock, August 1, 1876. The next order of buisness was balloting for canidates. Dr. M.J. McHenry, C.S. Collins, W. C. Ratcliffe and E.L. Maynard were elected as first choice for representatives, For Sheriff, W.N. Parish was elected first choice, and H.H. Rottaken for second choice, For circuit clerk W.F. Blackwood was elected first choice, and Thos. H. Walker second choice. For County clerk, R.W. Worthen wazs elected first choice, first, last and all the time. For county probate judge, M. H. Eastman was elected first choice by acclamation. For county treasurer, Joshua F. James was elected first choice and James A. Henry second choice. For County surveyor, F.H. Conway was elected first choice by acclamation. For assessor, P.G. Mason was elected first choice Thomas C. Hardcastle second choice, and R.N. Wikins third choice.

The delegates were instructed to vote for delegates favorable to the nomination of Gen. R.C. Newton to represent the third district of Arkansas in the next congress of the United States. On motion, the secretary was instructed to send a copy of the proceedings of this convention to the Gazette for Publication.

September 01, 1876 Arkansas Gazette published as Daily Gazette (Little Rock Ar.) page 2

Gray Township – Barbecue and speaking at Hickory Grove Church – Jacksonville, August 26. Editor Gazette: Last Thursday, the 24 inst., was a day long to be remembered by the citizens of Gray township. A grand barbecue was given at Hickory Grove church, and as it was circulated that a number of candidates would be there to address the people on that occasion, crowds of people began coming in from every direction till about 10 o clock the assembly was large. About this time Hon. W.C. Ratcliffe, Col. Farr, Col. Paish and Capt.Frank T. Vaughan put in their appearance and were welcomed by the citizens of Gray and Bayou. The hour hving arrived for speacking, Mr. Jos. T. Jackson was appointed temporary chairman and James D. Wood temporary secretary. Hon. W.C. Ratcliffe was introduced by the chairman as the regular nominee for representative from his county, and spoke at length, touching upon all the important issues of the day connected with the welfare of the state, the Colonel, in closing his speech, urged the people to turn out at the election and vindicate their rights by electing honest men to office, assuring them, if elected, he would use every exertion to promote the intrest and welfare of the country.

Col. Farr was next introduced and made an eloquent address. The Colonel is well known in these parts, and everybody has confidence in his ability to make a fair represented if elected. In his closing remarks the colonel spoke of the manliness exhibited by Col. Parish in his card urging his friends not to depart from action of the convention but close up their ranks and stand firm to the nomination referring to the adage, “where there is unity there is strength.”

Capt Frank T. Vaughan was introduced at the close of Col. Farr’s speech, and made a nice little talk, we have every reason to believe that Frank will serve the people well in the capacity to which he was nominated, if elected.

Col. Parish, being called, proceeded to stand and thanked the people for the interest manifested in his behalf while a candidate before the convention, and called upon his friends to be united and support the nominees.

Col. Parish’s remarks closed the speaking, and diner being announced, the ladies were invited to proceed to the table and the speakers were requested to dine with them. A bountiful supply of bread and meat was on hand; and everybody ate to his heart’s content. After dinner the young people engaged in tripping the fantastic toe, and some of the older as well as the younger ones participated in the amusement. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon our friends from the city of Roses bid us adieu and left

for home. Soon thereafter the crowd began to disperse to their repective places of abode, a happier if not a better people. Yours, very truly, J.D.W.

July 22, 1876 Arkansas Gazette published as Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock Ar.) page 4

Democratic County Convention- Resolutions Adopted by the Democratic Central Committee; June 3, 1878--- Resolved, by the Central Committee of the Democratic and Conservative Party of Pulaski County, That The people of said county, who wish its success, meet in their respective wards and townships on Saturday, July 22, 1876, for the purpose of selecting delegates and alternates to a county convention, which shall meet on Tuesday, the first day of August, 1876, in the city of Little Rock; in the Senate Chamber, for the purpose of placing in nomination a county ticket to go before the people at the election to be held Monday, September 4, 1878, and for selecting delegates to a congressional convention to be held at such place as central congressional committee shall delegate, and for the transaction of any business in reference to the management and control of the democratic and conservative party in the county. Resolved, that the number of delegates which each township and wards is entitled to and places of meeting shall be as follows: Bayou Meto township, three delegates; Zion Hill Church. Gray Township, three delegates; Jacksonville. Resolved, that the time of day for the primary meetings shall be at 8 pm. On Saturday, July 22, 1876, in the city, and in the townships at 3 pm.



Squire and Rena Harpole came to Jacksonville from Maben, Mississippi in 1881, bringing with him a family of five sons, Austin C. Harpole (October 17, 1880- January 31, 1958), Samuel E. Harpole (October 2, 1881-October 16, 1881), Reck C. Harpole (October 17, 1885 - September 6, 1946), N. Edgar Harpole( September 25, 1890- May 29, 1973), Harry Harpole (December 19, 1892 - June 11, 1972). All of this family is buried in the Bayou Meto Cemtery except Samuel who was buried at Bethel where the family was first in Buisness.

Squire Harpole owned a farm located on land now belonging to the Little Rock Air Force Base and the family also operated a store, after a few years in Little Rock Arkansas at 6th and Center street, where the family operated a Livery Station and Saloon, they returned to Jacksonville in 1916 and opened a General Merchandise Store in an old frame building on North First street. Austin was the bookkeeper, Reck drove a truck and delivered ice. Edgar was a Barber and Harry was the meat cutter and general clerk. In the back of the store, showers were installed for the public, before running water was available in most homes. This building was replaced in 1926 by the brick building that stands there today. In the early days of thier buisness they sold such things as flour, meal, sugar, coffee, beans and rice in bulk. Flour and feed were bought in carload lots for the store. They also sold dry goods, shoes and hardware in addition to groceries. Weekly salary checks were cashed for the Ordance Plant workers before Jacksonville had a bank. Later Autin and Harry would open a Hardware store on Mainn street that would later be operated Mitchell's Hardware. Edgar and son Edwin operated the Bus station and Confectionery on the corner of Second and Main street. Two large white frame houses which the Harpoles built in 1923 are still standing at 500 and 524 North first street, At the time they were built, this was Highway 67 and not yet paved. Harry Harpole installed one of the first two bathrooms in Jacksonville and he and Austin were instrumental in getting gas, water and sewer lines to the Harpoles addition. Austin was also one of the first Alderman of the city



The “Pea Farm” as residents of Bayou Meto Township referred to it, was established by the Act 494 of Arkansas on March 28, 1919. It was managed by nine unpaid director’s, five of whom were required to be women. Financing was through a federal grant and state funds. The Pea Farm was located on 185-acre tract near Warsaw Community in Bayou Meto Township, Criminal courts were authorized to commit women over eighteen year of age who were convicted of a felony, prostitution, habitual intoxication, drug using, contributory delinquency, or running a disorderly house, theft, murder, to the state farm for women. Inmates gardened, grew fruit, raised poultry, and assisted in the building operations, such as the construction of sidewalks. They also attended educational classes, as well as those for cooking, sewing, laundry work, nursing, and recreation. The objective was to educate, reform, and then release them to gainful employment. Most of the women arrived at the farm uneducated, poor, and sick (physically and or mentally). Accommodations at the farm were inadequate. Fifteen women occupied a sleeping porch while nine lived in a tent house with screened sides and porch. The Arkansas State Farm for Women accepted its first inmate June 20, 1920, but officially opened September 1 that year. Its first superintendent was Miss Mary DeWees, A college educated professional whose training included an internship at Clinton Reformatory Farm in New Jersey equipped her to meet the difficulties confronting this pioneer project. She gathered an able staff about her, and established a reformatory which demonstrated the best penal methods known. In 1921 the water supply failed, and for months water for all purposes had to be hauled. On March 21, 1924, a fire destroyed the facilities. Shortly after the fire Miss DeWees resigned and was replaced by Mrs. Julia Roberts. IN 1925 Mrs. Mary E. Graham became superintendent. There was an average of 33 inmates during her administration. Between September 1920 and January 1925, 242 women convicted of various offences, were committed to this institution.

Governor Brough established several state reformatory’s for women in Arkansas, one of which is the State Farm for Women, also known as the “Pea Farm” or the “Arkansas Women’s Prison “ Established on March 28, 1919 located on 185 acres land, 2 ½ miles from the city limits of Jacksonville, Pulaski, Arkansas. 125 of which were in cultivation, valued at $10,000. The site of the “Pea Farm” is a residential development where the streets are named for women. After the Little Rock Air Base opened in the late 50’s, this site became known as the “Bomers Addition” due to its location just north of the air base landing strip where Strategic Air Command deployed bombers. The first residents of the Bombers Addition were airmen and their families. The original site was in Section 35, Range 11 West of Bayou Meto Township.

An artistic receiving cottage for twenty – two girls with a hospital and quarantine room, was constructed in the heart of a stately grove beautified with quantities of dogwood. The setting was spiritually stimulating, and here the were trained in domestic science, cooking and sewing, as well as in usual school curriculum. A reliable farmer was employed, and the girls assisted in farming, gardening, scientic poultry raising and dairying. Forty additional acres were added to the farm during the second biennium, and the farm house thereon was remodeled to house ten girls. A new dormitory was completed. The water, Lights, and sewer connections for these new buildings were made almost entirely by the employees and the girls. This meant that one half mile wiring, one-fourth mile of water pipes, and one-eighth mile of sewer pipes were laid for the cost of the material. In building the honor cottage the girls did the concrete work on the basement under the direction of a foreman. They built the septic Tank for this building with two days supervision for the concrete work.

During the many years of the state’s history the records show that few white women have been sent to the State prison this was first undertaken through the cooperation of the local courts, the public health service, Medical Department of the State University, and the hospitals of the city

This prison was made famous by the 4 attempts of Helen Spence Easton to escape, each time they brought her back they gave her 10 lashes with a whip for her punishment of the attempted escapes. The State farm for Women closed its doors in 1936 and the buildings, were torn down. All of the prisoners that were left at the time of closing were transferred to Little Rock Prison.

Arkansas Democrat September 4, 1921

Captain James Henry Shoppach, Deputy clerk of the criminal Court first held position in Saline County when fifteen years old. On November 1, 1921, he will have finished his 17th year as a deputy of the circuit court and his 61 years as an office holder in the state of Arkansas. Captain Shoppach was born March 28, 1845 in Saline County near Benton. He was raised on a farm near here



Article from the Arkansas Gazette, November 7, 1931 - The Cairo and Fulton Railroad

The old Cairo and Fulton railroad which later became the main line of the Missouri Pacific system in Arkansas, was incorporated by act of the General Assembly on January 12, 1853, but 17 years elapsed before construction of the road was begun, and its first president, Roswell Beebe, did not live to see a single rail laid. The project got off to a fine start. A company was organized, stock was sold, and survey of the proposed route from a point opposite, the mouth of the Ohio River to Fulton on the Red river, as

provided by an act of Congress granting a right of way and public lands to aid the project, was completed. A letter from the President Beebe to the directors of the company, October 9, 1854, reported completion of the survey, and set forth that the line selected and reported as the shortest and cheapest, is 301.65 miles long; the grades are very light and the curves remarkably easy, and when we take into view the geography of the country over which this line passes, it is worthy of remark that it exceeds an airline only by 6.35 miles, while by the surveyed line the distance is increased only 1.1 miles. Besides President Beebe, officers of the original company were Daniel Ringo, Vice President; William B. Wait, Treasurer; B.C. Harley, Secretary, and James S. Williams, Chief Engineer. The legislature provided the first stumbling block in the process of the project; its members wanted to change the route of the proposed road (before granting state lands), but finally accepted the company’s survey. However, the provisions of the act granting the state lands were so intolerable to the company that the directors declined to accept them. At the next session of the legislature, the act was amended to the satisfaction of the company, but much valuable time had been lost. The amendment was passed by the legislature on November 16, 1856, about two months after the death of Roswell Beebe, the president, in New York City. He was succeeded by Judge Edward Cross of Hempstead County. The act of the General Assembly required the railroad company either to grade 25 miles or complete 10 miles of road within two years but not until January of 1858 did the company begin grading 25 miles beginning on the north bank of White River. This work proved more costly than was expected, and there was trouble with sub-contractors. After the 25 miles stretch was graded, operators stopped. For about 11 years, nothing was done, and in 1869, the Gazette summed up the situation in an editorial: “This road was chartered,” the editorial read in part, “over 16 years ago, and the prospects for its construction are no better than when the company was incorporated…The grants of land by Congress are munificent, all of which revert to the government if 20 miles of the road are not completed by April 28, 1870, a little over six months from the present time. Twice Congress extended the time for the building of this 20 miles, but with the present inefficient management, it can scarcely be expected that another extension can be obtained.” However, another extension was obtained, the company was reorganized, new capital was obtained, and on May 25, 1870, grading was commenced on the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock. The project went forward rapidly then, and the first notice of a train on the road is contained in an advertisement in the Gazette on June 3, 1871. “Sabbath School excursion on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad.” The excursion was from Argenta (North Little Rock) to Jackson Springs (now Jacksonville). The advertisement said: “There will be ample provisions made for the safety and comfort of the excursionist. Cars will be well seated and covered with awnings.” Tickets were $1 for the round trip.


May 5, 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Construction work on Camp Jacksonville, company 3787 also known as Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Depression times were had on the people of Jacksonville. When asked about them, one early resident said that they were all in the same boat, and since many were farmers they at least had their farm products. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sponsored

Adams Café Jacksonville Arkansas

M.J. “Bud” Adams and his wife Louise Stanphill Adams had to be the longest running restaurant owners in the history of Jacksonville Arkansas. Bud’s first café was located on Highway 161 just north of Graham Road. This was during the 1930’s. Around 1940, before World War II started, his café called “Adams Café” was located on Graham Road across from the railroad tracks. It was during the war when their business was really booming. Louise became very popular because of her delicious crispy fried chicken. On some days they would pack 250 fried chicken dinners priced at .75 cents to go to the war time Ordinance Plant in Jacksonville Arkansas. Many nights she stayed up cutting up chicken for the next day. They moved the café from that location around 1950 to tw different locations on South highway 161. They retired and closed the café around 1960. Their private dining room was a frequent meeting place for many Jacksonville Civic organizations. Photo # 5 left to right 4 Adams children in 1947: Patty, Barbara, M.J. Jr. called “knockout” and Donnie. (Courtesy of Patty Peters – 9704 Batesville Pike, Jacksonville Arkansas 72076)



The organization of the Town of Jacksonville, Pulaski County, Arkansas Feb 23, 1942.

On this day August 25, 1941 comes for hearing the petition filed by the citizens and residents of Jacksonville for the incorporation of the town of Jacksonville: and it appearing from testimony taken before the bar of the court to the satisfaction of the court that the petition is in writing and signed by more than twenty residents and inhabitants of the Town of Jacksonville applying for said order of incorporation, and that the same was filed in the office of the County Clerk of Pulaski County on the 19th day of July 1941, and that said petition was set for hearing at 10:00 A.M. on August 25, 1941, or as soon thereafter as the matter could be heard by the court. The court finds that said petition described the territory proposed to be embraced in the incorporated Town of Jacksonville and that an accurate plat thereof was annexed thereto, as provided by law; and it further appearing to the satisfaction of the court that Guy Amsler and Lee Miles were selected as Attorneys and agents to carry out the organization of said town, and that they should be authorized to act for and in behalf of Petitioners; that they caused notice to be published in the Arkansas Democrat, a newspaper of general circulation in Pulaski County, Arkansas, for four consecutive weeks prior to said hearing, which notice contained the substance of said petition and stated the time and place for the said hearing thereon, proof of publication of which is exhibited in open court. The Court finds there are no objections or contests against said petition, and the court being sell and sufficiently advised as to all matters of fact and law arising herein, finds that at least twenty qualified voters reside within the limits described in said petition; that said petition has been signed by them; that said limits of said proposed town have been accurately described in said petition, and that an accurate map and plat was made thereof and filed with said petition. The court finds that the name proposed for said town is proper and sufficient to distinguish it from other towns in this state; the court deeming it right and proper in its judgment and discretion that said petition be granted, it is by the court ordered, adjudged and decreed that said petition be, and it hereby is granted, and said proposed town is hereby incorporated as the Town of Jacksonville, Arkansas, under and by virtue of the statue in such cases made and provided. It is further ordered, adjudged and decreed that the following territory shall be embraced within said town, to-wit: Beginning at the Southeast corner of the Southwest one-fourth of the southwest one-fourth of section twenty(20), Township Three (3) North, Range ten(10) West, Pulaski County, Arkansas, and running thence due north 160 rods; thence due west 240 rods; thence due south

320 rod; thence due east 240 rods: thence due north 160 rods to point of beginning. It is further ordered adjudged and decreed that the County Clerk shall make and certify under his official seal two transcripts of the record made herein, one of which he shall forward to the Secretary of State, and the other shall be delivered to Guy Amsler and Lee Miles, agents and Attorneys of said Petitioners, certifying that similar transcript has been forward to the Secretary of State, as provided by Law. C.P. Newton, County Judge. For Plat Record see Plat Book No. Page No. Filed for record Feb. 23, 1942 at 11:05 A.M. and recorded Feb. 24, 1942. (Seal) Tom Newton & H. E. Clerk. This Petition was signed by Mrs. G.W. Cunningham, N.E. Harpole, Renfro Cunningham, Harry Harpole, A. C. Harpole, G.W. Whatley, T.B. Douglass, L.F. Felton, J.D. Thompson, Fred Thompson, C.M. Goffman, Marie Thompson, Cleveland Hudson, Claude Stanphill, Gus Waller, R.S. Scroggs, J. M. Joiner, Mrs. J. Sweeney, G.N. Douglass, R.L. Henry, A.F. Henry, J.C. McRaven, Chas H. Vestal, E. M. Martin, P.W. Dupree, C.H. Hudson, J.H. Bailey, J.P. Jones, Mrs. Grace Brown, Mrs Edna Taylor, Myron Traylor, M.J. Adams.


A news article in the Arkansas Gazette ran a story of housing shortage since Camp Robinson was being built and Pulaski County was being considered for the location of an Ordinance Plant. A survey was made of accessible roads to Jacksonville, which had a population of approximately 400, and housing possibilities in Little Rock and North Little Rock. The article mentioned Jacksonville and Marche as likely locations for war plants. On June 21, 1941, the Arkansas Gazette printed that “The Jacksonville Fuse and Detonator Plant and Marche Picric Acid Plant in Pulaski County will employ 2,900 persons on one shift basis, 2,000 will be women. The Jacksonville Plant will cost $33,500,00,00. The wage scale for the 2,000 employees will be $90.00 to $250.00 per month. The executives will receive larger salaries.

Arkansas Ordanace Plant “AOP”

The building of the Arkansas Ordance Plant in 1942

The AOP Newspaper was published about and for employees of the Arkansas Ordinance Plant, and was established about 1942. Next came the Jacksonville Journal Newspaper and it was weekly started in June 1942 by J.A. Moore. It apparently survived only a few issues. The weekly “Jacksonville News-Progress” was established in 1947 by Edwin W. Schultz. The first newspaper was a small five column tabloid weekly called the “Sylvan Hills News” in March, 1947. Then on September 4, 1947, the first issue bearing the name “Jacksonville-Progress was printed. In December 1947 Schultz negotiated with the War Assets Administration to buy the Old AOP Laboratory. On January 29, 1948, the two newspapers merged into a single seven column paper under the name of “The News Progress” Schultz, active in various community affairs, seemed to have a sixth sense about the community and in one of his editorials, published Dec 11, 1947, wrote about a dream of a modern city and very closely described what Jacksonville has become. Schultz retired in 1958 and the paper was discontinued. The last circulation of the “News-Progress” was approximately 900 readers. The “Jacksonville Herald Press” was a weekly newspaper in Jacksonville for four months in 1949. Its subscription list was purchased in October 1949 by Ed and Claire Schultz of the Jacksonville News Progress.

Newspaper Article The AOP News Jacksonville Ar 1942 Lady Seaman Pauline Chambers---Aop Women with 5 brothers in Arms Joins WAVES-Miss Pauline Chambers, formerly employed at AOP, on Area 9 second shift, was inducted into the WAVES at Dallas, Texas, on November13, as an apprentice seaman. She is among the first young women employed at AOP to enter this branch of service. Born and reared in Monticello,” the land of the big red tomato”, Miss Chambers is a graduate of the Drew Central High School. Her first job was as practical dietician in the Presbyterian Orphanage in her home town for three years, she later worked as a sales lady at the J. C. Penny’s store in Little Rock, resigning this job to enter defense work at AOP. Pauline is not the only patriotic member of the Chamber’s family who has offered his services to Uncle Sam, The Army Air Corps has claimed two of her brothers, Cpl. Floyd Chambers and Pfc. Rudolph Chambers. Adrian is taking basic training for the “Seabee’s” at Davis Ville, R.I., while Harry her older brother, is working in a defense plant at Vinita, Oklahoma. Her baby brother, Felix, age 18, who is now in high school, plans to enter the Army Air Corps at an early date. Miss Chambers is a cousin of Miss Louise Jones of the AO finger printing department. This enthusiastic new member of the WAVES has always been partial to the navy and that is why she selected that branch of service in which to better serve her country. Woe unto the enemy when this red-haired “Seaman” starts after them!

The Ordnance Plant was gone as quickly as it appeared; the U.S. War Department closed it I December , 1945 and the U.S. War Assets Department sold the land, plant equipment and structures, some to private interest and some to municipal governments, including Jacksonville, which bought the plant school, hospital, and fire station. If Camp Jacksonville, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that existed in Jacksonville from 1935 to the outbreak of World War II, had been a hint of the economic development that came with federal dollars, Arkansas Ordanance Plant was a compelling lesson. The next generation of Jacksonville leaders would remember the power of the federal purse to enliven the local economy.

At the close of the war in 1945 Jacksonville had subsided to its prewar level despite a population growth of about 2,500.The community had two general stores, Harpole Brothers General Merchantile and Henry Brothers. (P.W. Dupree earlier operated a third store.) There were few stores or paved streets. The community’s elementary, junior high, and senior high schools were on a single campus.

Picture from Newspaper Article of Hwy 67 in Jacksonville 1960

Traffic on Highway 67 passed through Jacksonville, but little stopped there. Pat and his brother Louis bought Harpole Brother’s Mercantile on the highway (now known as First Street) in 1946, arranging to pay for it over time. They renamed the store Wilson Brothers Mercantile and quickly redesigned its interior, consolidating groceries on one side and clothing and other Merchandise on the other. A year later Pat Wilson realized that the store would not support two families sold his half to his brother Louis in 1947.Kenneth Patrick Wilson went to work for Reasr-Hill Corporation which was one of the first companies to locate in Jacksonville, it was an insecticide manufacturing operations there. His position at this company was a purchasing agent.

The Chamber of Commerce was organized in Jacksonville in 1947 - Kenneth Patrick Wilson was elected its first President. Equipment and a modern field for the Jacksonville High School Red Devils was a one of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, initial goals. The local school’s football program was important to Patrick Wilson, Eger to give Jacksonville’s youth a better playing field than he enjoyed, Wilson set about to raise the funds for football program. The New Chamber decided to raffle a new car in order to raise money for the football program. Patrick Wilson called on Raymond Rebsamen, a Ford dealer and insurance executive in Little Rock, at his office in the Rector building to ask for a car at dealers cost. It was a fateful day for Patrick Wilson and the community of Jacksonville. Rebsamen recognized the younger man’s good ideas and initiative. He also knew a good investment opportunity when he saw it. I went to his office, introduced myself, and told him what my position was with the Chamber and what we were trying to do. Patrick Wilson said, “I would like to buy a car for the Chamber of Commerce at wholesale price and sell chances on it and pay for it and raise enough money to buy equipment for the football team.” And he also told him…one of our objectives was getting natural gas, one of them was getting planning, and one of them was getting a bank. And he called the manager of the Ford dealership and told him to let me have a car, and just sign a note. Thanks to Rebsamen’s help, the Chamber raised about 2,500 for the uniforms, equipment, and a loud speaker for the football field. Thus began Wilson’s career as the volunteer announcer for the Red Devils football games. Before they parted that day, Rebsamen commented to Wilson that he had always been interested in starting a bank himself. Wilson remembered that remark later when he needed help in setting up a bank that would become the foundation of his business success and, to great extent, of Jacksonville’s growth. The Late 1940’s were busy for the local Chamber of Commerce in which they spearheaded local efforts to obtain natural gas service, a municipal waterworks, and sewer service for Jacksonville. The new Chamber collaborated with the U.S. War assets Administration to attract private industry to fill the void left by the Ordnance plant when they shut down in December 1945, Jacksonville had subsided to its prewar level despite a population growth of about 2,500. The community had two General stores, Harpole Brother’s Mercantile (located at 112 North First Street now) and Henry Brothers Mercantile (located at 120 North First Street now). There were few store or paved streets. The community’s elementary, Junior High, and Senior High schools were on a single campus (located on the corner of Graham road and Oak Street. Reasor-Hill Corporation was one of the first companies to locate in Jacksonville, starting an insecticide manufacturing operation. On November 5, 1949 the first Jacksonville State Bank opened in a new building on the South side of Main Street, a half a block west of First Street. The greatest single economic development in Arkansas occurred in 1955, when the U.S. Department of Defense opened Little Rock Air Base on the site of the former ordinance plant. While the Chamber worked to attract private industry to Jacksonville, enticing them with existing ordnance plant facilities, the people of Jacksonville knew that another major federal installation would be the quickest and most secure means of restoring the war-time economy that briefly energized Jacksonville. In the decades that followed the Chamber of Commerce promoted the economic development of Jacksonville by attracting new industries. By 1978 the Chamber of Commerce reported that 23 different manufacturing companies employed 3,000 persons in Jacksonville, with the combined payroll of $350 million. Many of the factories were located in the 500-arece Pulaski Industrial Park, a development which investors of the town created.

A Modern City (News Progress, December 11, 1947)

This editorial appeared in the News Progress at the time the editorial was written, the industrial expansion of Jacksonville was just beginning.


Ever Dream? - Bet you have, and isn't it strange, just what a person will dream? Like everyone, we also dream, once in a great while, too. However, this is not a dream, but, a vision of what a lot of folks will not be able to see. Many things passed before us in our dream. What we saw brings us to writing this.

We were walking around the new City of Jacksonville. A modern city with wide streets, modern buildings and up to the minute shops. The business district of our new and modern Jacksonville was located on the rolling ground just inside the old Ordinance Plant area. The wide street by which you enter the area through gate one was lined with modern shops and stores and there were many new streets that had been cut through and paved and these also were lined with stores and commercial buildings. There were busy intersections, with traffic lights working and vehicles passing along in all directions.

On one of the prominent corners stood a beautiful bank building, the home of the First National Bank of Jacksonville; another large building was the city Hall. All along the wide streets were trees and there was a hustle and bustle equal to any large city in the nation. In the distance to the west were the roaring factories which had made this wonderful growth possible. To the northeast not so many blocks from the businesses were street after street of beautiful homes, built along shaded thoroughfares.

Now to a great many people this rambling dream sounds silly, it may seem unreal, far-fetched, not possible. But, was anything ever accomplished in the world without someone having dreamed, planned or worked to accomplish things? Didn't Columbus do a certain amount of dreaming before he set out to find a new way to the fabulous wealth that was India, and thus discovered a part of what is now the Western hemisphere. Didn't our forefathers dream a lot when they saw cities and a nation raise out of a wilderness inhabited only by wild Indians and fierce wild animals.

Great things are possible for our city. But they are possible if a lot of us do a lot of dreaming, planning and a lot more hard work. Nothing can be accomplished unless all of us are willing to make sacrifices and expand a great deal of energy to get the job done. Right now, we'd like to suggest to the city fathers that no time should be lost in getting the services of a good lawyer and a good engineer, on a fee basis to set about planning the new City of Jacksonville that is to come. A lot of planning later, when the cost will be much higher and will require much more work. It is vitally necessary right now to lay out a modern city upon which can be built the city of tomorrow. Lack of planning now means only that our city will spring up around us in a hodge podge manner and the chance to build a beautiful city will be lost forever.

So many things are necessary right now to insure that we have a city of which we can be proud. It is one thing to bring to our city a lot of industries and enlarge our population, and another, to lay the foundation

for a modern city where living will be a pleasure and where there will be no hovels, shacks, narrow streets with traffic hazards, poverty and filith.

A few of our people have a vision of a new modern city; others, we are sorry to say don't seem to want any change from the old way of things in Jacksonville. There is no way to stop progress, but a systematic effort to plan for the future will pay big dividends. Things are breaking fast in our city; in fact so fast that only a handful of people realize just how fast things are taking place. We insist we must not waste time. We must get down to work now, Planning and building for the future. We must be ready for what is coming.

The whole nation is watching what is taking place in Jacksonville. This is no time for shirkers, for people to be blind to reality that they cannot see what is coming. It is no time for people to be close fisted and narrow minded. It is a time, however, for all of us to get behind progress and see that we plan a city which will be living monument to the sincerity of the planners and not one about which future generations will ask, " why didn't those old fossils plan a little ahead of themseleves back in 1947."

Folks, we are offering a challange. It is up to us to answer it. No time must be lost-- can be lost. It is today when we must work and plan for tomorrow. If you are holding back, you are guilty of community treason. You are selling your community down the river.

Hiwasse Maunfacturing Company - December 31, 1947

Hiwasse Manufactoring Company was one of Jacksonville's first industries to begin operations in the old Ordanance Plant area. It was organized December 31, 1947, by Roy Hackett and John Derickson, Production began January, 1948. Hackett served as president and general manager, and Derickson as secretary- treasurer. The compsany Manufactored many items made from sheet metal and aluminum, such as metal cabinets, metal louvers, aluminum awnings and metal car parts. The company Now specializes in decorative metal trim; control panels, clock dials, automotive trim and many other specialized metal trim items.

The first building occupied by Hiwassee Mfg. Co. burned in 1952. It was replaced by a new steel building in August 1952...thier present plant, which was built in 1973, is located at 1030 Redmond Road.


3-26-1948 – Fire on First Street

Newspaper Article) Jacksonville Theater and Café Burn- Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Grand Theater and Taylor’s Café at Jacksonville and North Little Rock departments could control the blaze yesterday morning. P.W. Dupree, Owner of the two-story frame building housing the two establishments, said the structure was worth about $5,000. Loss is partially covered by insurance, he said. Apparently, the fire started in the theater, where a Negro janitor was sweeping. He ran a half-mile to the home of Bartus Gray, theater owner, before notifying the Fire Department. The First alarm was received at 4:10 a.m. A Call for help was issued and company No.7 of North Little Rock responded. The blaze had reached such proportions by that time that it was difficult to prevent further spread. A service station adjoining the frame building, also owned by Mr. Dupree, was undamaged. The Theater was established in 1942 when construction of the huge Arkansas Ordnance Plant at Jacksonville began. The café had been in operation several years previous. Unofficial estimates placed loss at $18,000. The café was operated by j. Taylor.


On November 5, 1949 the first Jacksonville State Bank opened in a new building on the South side of Main Street, a half a block west of First Street. Bankers from other towns, officials of the state Bank Department, and local dignitaries attended the opening ceremonies. Many of the community’s residents were thrilled to have a local bank at last and numerous persons opened checking accounts there on the first day. A few prominent citizens of the town remained skeptical that the brash young employee (Patrick Wilson) of Reasor-Hill could succeed at starting a bank. The community needed more than one bank, however- and the bank could hardly prosper if there was little employment in the community. So Patrick Wilson continued promoting industrial development in Jacksonville along with the members of the Chamber of Commerce, together they purchased some of the Ordnance Plant property from the federal War Assets Administration. Over time, the corporation developed some of the property for a medical clinic, sold parcels of land to various industries, and used the proceeds to subsidize community development activities. First Jacksonville Bank & Trust was founded in 1949. This locally owned bank has provided finiace to the majority of the industrial and commercial endeavors in the community. The most important accomplishment was helping bring the Little Rock Air Force Base to Jacksonville in 1955.

Since opening its first branch location at the Little Rock Air Force Base in 1956 to opening a Morrtage Company in 1978

The original blue prints to this bank are in the procession of the Jacksonville Historical District.


This building began it's school years with the 1948-1949 term. Those of us who started there that year had gone to the White (Federal) building the first month or so, then we were moved. At first, there was no cafeteria, and we had to bring our lunches, think the school did provide our milk. This building sat between the Barker-Gray Hospital (now, where the Presbyterian Church is) and the old fire department (where the current police station is). The ice plant was across the street. The building is now an apartment building, once called Har-Bar Apartments.

When the new high school was opened in 1954, this school was made the junior high


This was the "U" shaped building that began as a high school. When the new high school was built on School Drive, it became the 5th & 6th grades school. It had the main school office, by that time, Murrell Taylor wasn't teaching anymore, she was the principal for grades 1 through 6. The stage was in this building, as was the basketball court, and classrooms lined the two sides of the building.


This was originally the Home Ec. building, later when Jacksonville had more than one campus, it was the home for the main principal, Thomas Alford. His wife taught next door in the 2 story building. His son, Dale Alford was an optometrist in LR, then was an elected Representative to DC.


This was the 2 story building, was a junior high first, then became 3rd & 4th grades when the high school was moved to School Drive.





Jacksonville had its big day yesterday when city, state and gas company officials joined in turning the valve which sent natural gas flowing through newly-constructed mains to serve the entire area. Built at a cost in excess of $350.000, the natural gas mains will materially aid the development of Jacksonville as an industrial area and as a better place to live, in the opinion of Mayor Carl Brewer. Govenor McMath helped start the celebration when he attended a lunch at the Redmond Motors Plant and later inspected the Redmond Plant, Air-Light Door Factory, and the two plants of Reasor-Hill Corporation. He was accompanied by members of the Resources and Development Commission and gas company officials. The governor was resting his vocal cords in preparation for a major political speech last at Batesville and di not speck at Jacksonville, on politics or business. He was given the 2,000,000th electric motor turned out by the Jacksonville plant of Redmond Motors Corporation. Brewer Turns Valve- Later, Mayor Brewer turned the valve sending the gas into the city mains. He was accompanied by R.W. Curran, general manager of the Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company, and John R. Thompson, attorney for the Public Service Commission. A concert by the National Guard Band started the evening’s dedication ceremonies. Curran then introduced officials of the gas company and Mayor Brewer. Thompson used a roman candle to light the gas flowing from a breather pipe which had been installed in the Jacksonville school yard for the occasion. The spurt of flame from atop the 25-foot pipe signaled the crowd that gas had finally reached the city after being under contemplation for three years, and under construction since February. Step toward Industrialization- Thompson told the crowd that the coming of natural gas to Jacksonville was a long stride toward the area’s becoming one of the largest industrial districts in the South. Delegations from the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Little Rock Chamber attended the ceremonies. The gas line covers 11 miles from Rose city, 10 miles of pipe in residential area, and six miles through the industrial section. There will be 850 users of gas, which includes 350 customers along Highway 67 where the main was laid from Rose City. Bringing the gas into Jacksonville also created another improvement. The gas company is furnishing house numbers to be placed on all homes using gas. The gas company still has to install lines through the Sunnyside Hills residential project before it is finished in the area, Curran said.


Some Jacksonville residents believe their city may be the fasted growing of the United States in proportion to its April 15 official population of 3,007. Foundations for more than 0 homes have been laid within the city limits since January 1, and many of these are now occupied. In addition, construction goes on just outside the city limits where utility services have been available for years due to ramifications of the old Jacksonville Ordanace Plant water, electrical and gas systems. In Jones Addition anyone, with in six blocks of the business district, 5 homes have been occupied and 20 are under construction. New Homes- In the Thompson Addition (known also as the “old Staff Quarters area” of the ordance plant) 45 homes are occupied and 10 are under construction. A number of these were acquired and occupied when the government offered lands in the ordanance reservation for sale. In the Oakhurst Addition (formerly the Keaton) 50 homes started May 1 are now being occupied. Figures from the city clerk’s office on building permits hardly tell the story; for groups of homes, recently occupied, or under construction, dot the countryside near the growing city. A new post office is to be started soon. A $360,000 junior High school is to be constructed. The new High school, one of the most modern one-floor plants of its kind, was occupied last term. New City Hall- There is talk of a New City Hall, and the land for this is city property. The city probably is the only one of its size in the world which has three fire trucks, all three pumpers, or one for each 1,000 population, These, like its well-built fire station, were acquired from sales of the old ordnance plant property and equipment. And downtown and along the highways, cafes are overcrowded

during the noon hour when the personal of the nearby Little Rock Air Force Base eat. No activities have been completed on the grounds for meals, although the officer’s mess is about ready for regular service. In spite of its growing pains, the city remains in the black, according to an audit completed last month.


There were once great indications the Little rock’s suburban neighbor. Jacksonville would follow the pattern set by dozens of war-industry cities after World War II and fall back into the whistle-shop category. That was after the sprawling Jacksonville Ordinance Plant, which covered around 6,800 acres. Had closed, heralding the end of the war boom. Taking stock of itself about this time. The city found it had no bank, no newspaper, no Hospital, funeral home, or many other of the ordinary installations found in even smaller communities. And to add insult to injury. The Missouri Pacific Railroad started to tear down its Depot there. It was then that Jacksonville decided to do something about its declining property values and to start a movement that is fastly developing the city into one of the state’s important industrial center’s 3,000 Residents. The City now boasts more than 3,000 residents. This isn’t a boom growth. But the result of careful planning, plus the availability of the government buildings and the ground which once was used to make fuses and detonators. Not only was the railroad depot left intact, but a telegraph and freight office was added. A new Hospital is located in one of the ordinance buildings, a new bank with drive-in service, was opened recently, and the News Progress, is located in the Ordnance plant area. The Children’s Convalescent Center, also located in the plant area, is also a post-war development. One of the new post-war developments in the Redmond Company Inc., which manufactured more than one million electric motors during 1949. This company had a recent expansion of more than a quarter of a million dollars and greatly increased its personal. The Company has also moved its southwest sales office from Dallas to Jacksonville.

Reasor-Hill, Manufactures of insecticides, who have been operating a plant in Jacksonville for the last three years recently opened up a second plant, doubling the number of its employees. Standard Rendering Co. employs 25 workers; Air-Lite Door Corporations employs 50: Redmond Motors has approximately 600 on its payroll. Arkansas Hair Works has 15 on its staff and the Arkansas Highway Department’s central maintance shops are located in Jacksonville with about 175 men on the payroll. The Year 1950 revealed many indications of the city’s growing pains. Perhaps the most noticeable instance of this is seen in the city’s construction during the 12- month period. During May, Southwestern State Telephone Co. opened up a new $17,000 building, capable of taking care of the expected industrial and residential expansion of the city. A new subdivision. Jones Addition, opened up about the same time, provided room for approximately 80 houses. Lion Oil Co. recently selected the city as the site for the bulk storage plant of its oil chemical division, leasing six of the large warehouses formerly used by the old Arkansas Ordinance Plant, Ammonia crystals, which is a major mineral ingredient used in making commercial fertilizer, are stored there before shipment to points throughout the nation. Pre-Fab Plant Locates.- Even more recently has been the southern Sectional Building Co. Aurora Ill. Dir the production of prefabricated garages and utility farm buildings. The products will be shipped to northern states and Texas and Tennessee and will eventually employ from 20 to 30 persons. Arkansas pine will be used exclusively in the production process. Plans for further expansion of the city’s business district are now underway by the city’s lively Chamber of Commerce which will extend this portion of the city northward. Optimistic Jacksonville civic leaders think the city will grow to a population of 10,000 within the next few years. While high. The figure seems to becoming more and more a reality as the city’s present industries grow and large steady amounts of residential and business construction continues.

Natural gas poured into the newly constructed Jacksonville mains when Mayor Carl Brewer, left turned the valve sending the gas into the city from main line last night. Shown with Mayor Brewer is Tom Compton, public relations counselor, and R.W. Curran (right), general manager of Arkansas –Louisiana Gas Company.


News Progress April 1954, Jacksonville Ar.

Real Jacksonville Pioneer Woman – Oldest living person of a real Jacksonville pioneer is Mrs. Emma McBride Martin Thompson. Her Grandfather, John Russell Beall, immigrated to Jacksonville from Carrolton, Mississippi, in 1845. He and his family came in an ox wagon and surrey- forged the Arkansas River and homesteaded land in Jacksonville Arkansas on the place now known as Vestal’s Nursery. The place around Jacksonville was a complete wilderness. Nick Jackson came here about the same time and homesteaded land here and the town was named for Mr. Jackson. Mrs. Thompson’s father was Theo. B. McBride; He married Harriett Pricey Miller and Mr. McBride managed the Beall estate. He was a great trader; he owned livestock and land. His Cemetery—grandparents buried their slaves in the present Bayou Meto cemetery—that is why the cemetery was started in this location. Mr. Jackson and Mr. McBride donated the right of way for the first railroad, the Cario and Fulton, in 1871; then it became the Iron Mountain and is now Missouri Pacific. Mr. McBride donated the land for the old school Academy, located where the Assembly of God Church now stands. He owned the farm where the Sunnyside Hills is located. The McConnell farm and the Graham estate, where W.W. Nixon now lives, was also the Vestal’s Nursery. He also owned land in Lonoke County. Mrs. McBride named the town of Enola, Arkansas. She was visiting her sister, Mrs. Catherine Wood, and a Post office was to be established there, so Mrs. Wood ask her sister Mrs. Pricey McBride, to name the town. As she was away from the busy town of Jacksonville and very lonesome and homesick, she called it ENOLA—alone spelled backwards. The McBrides had the following children: Mrs. Lelia Royer, W.T. McBride, Coke, Jim, Maggie McBride Graham, Joe Earnest, Mrs. Lina Sangster and Mrs. Emma McBride Martin Thompson. One was a Methodist minister, several were school teachers and all active community workers. Mrs. Thompson first married L.W. Martin and he was killed in a railroad wreck early in their married life in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1896. She brought her three small children back to Jacksonville and lived with her mother and brother. She was very active in civic affairs and contributed liberally to the Methodist Church. Later, she married Shell Thompson, postmaster of Jacksonville. Mrs Thompson is still interested in her three children: Paul Thompson, Decatur Texas; Mrs. Ethel Moorehead, Little Rock; and L.W. Martin, Jacksonville; and her eight grandchildren. It is a real joy to hear her talk—she can talk about the past—but she can keep you entertained with current events.

 We hope you have enjoyed this bit of History- want to learn more visit us at,

Jacksonville Historical Center Museum 104 S. 1st St. Jacksonville Ar. 72076

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